What’s the difference between B2C and B2B eCommerce websites?
Let’s start by defining a B2C and a B2B eCommerce website. The difference is quite simple:
B2C (BUSINESS TO CONSUMER) indicates the sale of products or services directed to final consumers. Some examples are the sale of retail products such as food, clothing, etc., and direct personal services, such as home banking;
B2B (BUSINESS TO BUSINESS) on the other hand, indicates the sale of products or services from one company another. Good examples are the sale of wholesale products and corporate banking.
If in B2C there are great sales opportunities, in B2B these opportunities are even greater. The number of potential customers is lower, but the volume of sales is higher.
Ecommerce websites selling products and services to the final consumer have been growing like mushrooms in the past 10 years. Companies can sell anything from such a website, from food to clothing, from electronics to books, and much more.
It is a common practice that starts from the fact that it is another way to increase revenue and it is simpler, cheaper, and faster when compared to investing in another outlet. In fact, there is no doubt that a B2C eCommerce website is a great business decision, and so is a B2B eCommerce website.
The B2B eCommerce industry has broad reach, encompassing everything from commerce infrastructure and payments technology to procurement and supply-chain solutions.
Over the last few years, more companies are taking advantage of the strategic and effective benefits of a B2B eCommerce website because of the digital marketing advantages too. Regardless of the sector in which they operate in, organisations are understanding how essential a B2B platform is for receiving and managing orders more orders to improve their work and streamline their processes.
In this article, we outline the advantages of a B2B eCommerce website as well as explain how to co-ordinate its management.
Online orders are easier to manage
Telephone, fax, email, travelling salesman; orders that come from traditional channels must be handled manually, from taking the actual order to shipping it. This translates into a slower response to the customer, limitation of the number of orders that can be managed at the same time, and a larger number of personnel required to manage such a process.
A B2B eCommerce website simplifies this process. When integrated with the company’s stock management software, it captures prices and availability of products in real time and allows buyers to send their order 24/7 whenever they need it – streamlining much of the manual work typically required and minimising the possibility of error.
Online orders reduce the risk of error
The manual management of an order is subject to human error: errors in the calculation/update of stocks in the warehouse, errors in the calculation of prices, errors in the transcription of shipping addresses, errors of understanding among colleagues … the list is endless.
All such errors can be eliminated by adopting a B2B eCommerce website with the right website hosting infrastructure in place. By using a single data source for product information acquisition and minimising manual and unnecessarily-laborious operations, the level of efficiency in B2B order management increases significantly.
Receiving orders online allows you to focus on the more important things
The receipt of a B2B order is very often followed by requests for information, by phone calls to customer service and by emails with the request for order confirmation. Providing a sales support service capable of promptly responding to customers is as essential as preempting them. Whilst the flexibility a website offers allows for constant improvements and adjustments too.
In fact, all information regarding the product can be provided directly from the platform, the order acknowledgments can be sent automatically and most of the requests that are usually sent by new customers can be answered before placing the order via an FAQ section. Collection or delivery can also be scheduled and confirmed in an automated manner by using pre-established configuration.
An online platform improves the performance of a sales team
The assortment of products that a B2B company has to manage is often large quantities. This means that the amount of information the sales team must organise and maintain will require good time management.
While customers can find all the product information on the platform, the same goes for the sales department staff. The main advantage of a B2B eCommerce website aimed at simplifying the B2B purchasing processes is that it enables the sales team to focus on garnering new business.
In addition to this, most customers these days are preferring to use self-servicing methods for both convenience and autonomy’s sake. This, only based on the fact that through the same B2B portal they can easily consult the online catalogue, find data sheets, photos, stock availability and prices. Not only that, but customers may also be allowed to see the history of their past purchases and track their shipment/delivery.
How to coordinate the implementation of a B2B eCommerce website
For any company, the transition from managing the offline sales process to managing an eCommerce solution is far from immediate. The process requires operational adjustments on all fronts to make the B2B portal a successful one.
The adoption of a B2B ecommerce website affects the entire organisation: from marketing to logistics, from administration to after-sales assistance. In fact, it is typically helpful if one employee/manager is fully dedicated to helping the organisation in adapting the modus operandi to cater for the new system and to allow for a smoother transition.
How can you retain competitive advantage through B2B eCommerce?
What should companies factor in to ensure the success of their B2B eCommerce? For starters, a very important element is to consider is finding the right service provider that has the experience required to design and develop your website whilst guiding you from start to finish. Do not envision a website as a one-step process, but an ongoing project that is never finished. Having said this, it is important to get each step right, as without doing so, it can halt an entire project. Do also take the time to plan investment, as different resources will be required, whether it’s to upload product data, optimising the Customer Experience and planning potential improvements and online asset.
Personalisation is key and required in a two-fold manner: firstly in how the B2B portal is built to suit your organisation, and secondly by keeping the actual end customer in mind and ensuring the platform is built ‘to sell’.
B2B eCommerce portals benefit your organisation as well as your clients. On the one hand, customers can order at their convenience, have full visibility on the prices and availability of the items ordered and receive real-time updates on their order every step of the way. On the other hand, your organisation has the opportunity to simplify numerous operational processes allowing for other more business opportunities.
Therefore B2B portals will continue to grow in popularity as they have repeatedly proven to be a more efficient way of doing business. Hence, we envision a growing demand within the subsequent years.
If you are thinking of taking your business to the next level, our team of professionals can offer you the level of support you need. Get in touch with no obligation!